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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Lap Around the Track with NASCAR’s James Bickford: Evergreen Speedway

Interstate Plastics sponsored NASCAR Next and K&N West driver, no. 6 James Bickford, returned to Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington on August 15th for the ninth race of the K&N Pro Series West season. After rounding out the pole in qualifying, Bickford finished the night in eighth place. Take a look and see how it all went down.

Friday, August 14th
James sat and waited, sleep deprived and hungry in the Seattle International Airport; two hours away from Monroe Washington, and an indefinite number of hours away from leaving the airport. It was 7:30am and he was tired. By 11:30am he had napped on the airport floor and tweeted: “Can anyone pick me up from the Seattle Airport?” There was a miscommunication regarding his flight arrival time and he was stranded.

By 1:00pm, his crew member Buddy picked him up. The pair drove two hours to Monroe, got lunch, and then James went to sleep for the rest of the night.

Saturday, August 15th
8:30AM: The NASCAR K&N West garage opened and inspection began.

11:00AM – 11:45AM: James was P7 after first practice with a best lap of 23.999 seconds.

1:30PM – 2:00PM: After the final practice of the day, James sat P7 with a best lap of 23.85 seconds.

About his two practice runs, James admitted that he was “not where he wanted to be” in practice standings, but confident for qualifying. He thought they had a “balanced” car.

2:30PM: Qualifying inspection opened.

3:30PM – 4:00PM: James and his crew chief Bill Sedgewick attended a mandatory meeting.

4:15PM – 5:00PM: James qualified on the pole for the NASCAR K&N West NAPA Auto Parts 150 – his second pole win for the 2015 season.

“The qualifying lap was obviously really good. It was interesting because… you’re supposed to be faster on your second lap, but… I got the quick time on my first lap. Bill [Sedgewick] told me, ‘Don’t even run your second lap. So I just coasted around the track on my second lap, I didn’t even need it,” he said.

5:00PM – 5:30PM: James met fans at a NASCAR sponsored autograph session.

5:40PM – 6:00PM: Driver introductions were held.

6:00PM – 8:00PM: James took home eighth place in the 93.75-mile NAPA Auto Parts 150 event.
“I got in the car and was starting on the front row. I led the first 35 laps and thought I had a really, really strong car…possibly, that I could win. And then I got passed by David [Mayhew] and he left me in the dust. I thought, ‘Okay, I’m in second now. I’ll be okay.’…then third place caught up to me, and then he passed me. And then fourth place. And then the group of the field got to me and then I was just getting hit all over the place and then I got shuffled all the way back to 10th place.”
What happened since the pole win? James attributed his fall out to the fact that the track was hot and abrasive. “I think my car got wore out,” he said. “I was pushing really hard at the beginning to try and keep the lead and I think that was a disadvantage to me.”

There was only one caution flag waved throughout the entire race. By the halfway break, James was sitting P10. After the restart he rocketed up to P6, and then slowly back to P7, and crossed the finish at P8. “After your tires get hot, it’s really hard to pass…we didn’t have a tire that could handle those long runs...but we’re gonna go to Colorado and I look forward to winning for the Interstate Plastics/ Sunrise Ford Racing team.” He finished up by saying:
“My Sunrise Ford/ Interstate Plastics team has come a long way from the start of the year...We’re finally getting down qualifying and starting to have some really good qualifying spots. And it’s just a matter of time until those top-track position qualifying spots start to pay off and we start winning some races off of the pole like we did at Stateline [Speedway].”
Sunday, August 16th 
Straight after the race James and his dad Tom drove to Seaside, Oregon and went fishing on the Columbia River for two days. James caught a twelve-pound fish during the trip.

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